Women's rights, inspirations and good editing
there is no logical connection, but rather a reflection of the random thoughts that run through my head and my weird way of joining the dotted lines :)
Today is international women's day. Sure, its not any different to another day, and we should all recognise the rights and appreciate what women contribute to society everyday, not just on some dedicated day once a year. But its a good occasion to highlight the achievements, the plight, the discrimination, the challenges that women face.
There was a time when I used to write opinion pieces, and what became annual pieces looking at women's rights and the progress made. Every now and then we get asked who are the women / woman that inspire us. If I had to think of a 'celeb' woman that inspires me, I would say its Mary Robinson.
I once had the opportunity to listen to her deliver a speech at a conference, and had a brief exchange with her after her speech. She talked about property rights being a key factor in ensuring true empowerment, and fundamental to human rights. She shared her experience working with women in Africa on entrepreneurial initiatives, and how private property rights, or the lack thereof, affected the success of the efforts. At the time I was working on promoting economic freedom and human rights - two things I strongly believe in. Strangely enough, most that work on human rights issues seem to have a strong view against economic freedom.
So having the biggest human rights advocate such as Mary Robinson tell an entire conference room how crucial it was that economic freedom is needed alongside human rights made me feel like I was no longer alone :) sounds dramatic perhaps, but that is truly how I felt - that the pleasant people around me would almost turn hostile when they read my business card that said "Regional Manager, Human Rights AND Economic Freedom'. Expressions changed when they saw/heard the latter part of my title :)
Ms. Robinson put in much more eloquent terms what I had tried to persuade my fellow human rights advocates to listen to. I remember writing a piece on the issue, quoting Ms. Robinson in more precise terms. The article was edited, and the unfortunate part is that the exact quote from Ms. Robinson was removed. I wish I still have my original version, since my memory is not too good anymore. And the odds of having another chance to exchange a few words with Mary Robinson? sighhhh only wishful thinking :)